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A general guide on how you are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act and what your rights are.
If you believe you have experienced disability discrimination, there are a number of things you can do. What is best for you will depend on the area of discrimination you have experienced, and exactly what has happened. It is generally best to try to sort it out informally if you can.
Sometimes a problem can be sorted out by speaking with the person or organisation involved, with the aim of resolving it without having to follow a formal process.
An advocate may be able to help you if you would like support in doing this. You can get more information about finding an advocate in Useful contacts.
If this doesn't resolve your problem you can move to the next step.
You may be able to complain through a formal complaints procedure. For example:
If this doesn't resolve your problem you could consider taking legal action.
If you can't resolve your problems informally or by using a complaints procedure, you may want to consider taking legal action.
Depending on who has discriminated against you, this might mean that you would:
If you are on a low income, you may be able to get legal aid to pay for legal advice about your discrimination problem and for a legal adviser to represent you in court.
To find out if you can get legal aid you can contact the government’s Civil Legal Advice Service.
It is also a good idea to check any insurance policies you have, like home contents or car insurance, as sometimes these policies also cover general legal expenses and so can be used to pay a solicitor.
If you are a member of a union at your workplace then the union may have solicitors who will offer you legal advice about your case and if necessary represent you in an Employment Tribunal.
When someone is treated worse because of their physical or mental health condition, this is known as 'disability discrimination'.
The Equality Act is the law that explains what a disability is, and when worse treatment counts as discrimination.
Generally, you have to show that you have a disability before you can challenge worse treatment as disability discrimination. The exceptions to this are if you received worse treatment because your employer thinks you're disabled but you're not, or because of your association with a disabled person.
See our pages on disability discrimination for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
This information was published in August 2019. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.